August Calendar

 

On this date in Notre Dame Football History:

Sources for the calendar are 100 Years of Notre Dame Football by Gene Schoor, The Fighting Irish 1999 Calendar, Knute Rockne by Francis Wallace, The Notre Dame Football Scrapbook by Cohen, Deutsch and Neft and The Fighting Irish Football Encyclopedia by Mike Steele, Shake Down The Thunder by Murray Sperber, One for The Gipper by Patrick Chelland, 75 Years of Notre Dame All-Americans and The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia.

 

August 1

Greg Bell, running back (1980-83), 6'0", 210 lbs. is born in 1962.

It wasn't until after Bell left Notre Dame that fans of the Fighting Irish found out what they'd missed. Bell played just one full season in college, but lasted eight in the NFL. Injuries all but destroyed the college career of the former South High School basketball, football and track star from Columbus, Ohio. As a freshman he played tailback, and carried the ball 5 times for 66 yards (an average of 13.2). He was switched to wingback as a sophmore and had his best season in South Bend by far, rushing 92 times for 512 yards and scoring 4 touchdowns. As a junior, and again a tailback, he got off to a phenomenal start, with a 95-yards performance in the opener against Michigan, but the next week he fractured his leg and gained just 28 yards the rest of the season. He then missed seven games as a senior, gaining 169 yards on 37 carries.

With one year of eligibility remaining, Bell opted to enter the NFL draft. In 1984 he was a first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills, and played for them through 1987. He also played for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders before he retired in 1991. As a Ram, Bell led the NFL in touchdowns in 1988, with 16, and in 1989, with 15. He finished with more than 5,000 yards rushing. Not bad for a guy who had only 10 touchdowns and 870 yards during his entire college career.

 

August 2

John Scully, Center/Tackle (1977-80), 6'5", 255 lbs. is born in 1958

Scully, from Huntington, New York, overcame injuries and a position move to become the best center in college football. He began his college career as a backup offensive tackle. Then, as a junior, he was shifted to center and asked to replace All-American Dave Huffman. Given the chance to play, Scully made very few mistakes and stayed eleven games in his first season at center. He was named a tri-captain the following year and was a consensus first-team All-American who went on to play in the East-West Shrine game.

Tha Atlanta Falcons selected Scully in the fourth round of the 1981 NFL draft. He played his entire ten-year career in Atlanta.

 

August 3

Irish Landmark

Ara Parseghian, who was head coach at Northwestern before jumping to Notre Dame, was well schooled in the practice of defeating teams from the Big Ten. In fact, his Notre Dame teams won fourteen consecutive games against Big Ten competition from 1969 to 1974.

Like Ara before him, Lou Holtz had a penchant for defeating teams from the Big Ten. Holtz, who coached at Minnesota before coming to Notre Dame, matched Parseghian's  streak of fourteen consecutive wins against Big Ten teams. Holtz did it from 1986 to 1991. But unlike Parseghian, four of the wins in Holtz's streak were against Big Ten champions or cochampions (Michigan in 1988. 1989, 1990, and Michigan State in 1990).

 

August 4

Irish Legend

Frank Carideo, Quarterback, (1928-30), 5'7", 175 lbs. is born in 1908.

Carideo was the quarterback on two Notre Dame national championship teams, yet he never led the team in passing. He was too busy doing everything else. The tough, intelligent signal caller from Mount Vernon, New York, was an all-around athlete with outstanding leadership capabilities. In his two years as a starting quarterback, Notre Dame was 19-0 and took two national titles.

Carideo was not only one of the best quarterbacks and punters in Notre Dame history, he also played defensive back and led the Fighting Irish in interceptions, with 5 for 151 yards as a junior, which was also his first season as the team's starting quarterback. That was the year he began displaying his multidimensional game. Against Navy he completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jack Elder. Against Georgia Tech he made it to the end zone on a 75-yard touchdown run, and he ran back an interception for 85 yards and a touchdown in a 26-6 victory over Northwestern. Carideo also nailed an extra point that was the difference in a 13-12 win over USC, and in a season-ending 7-0 victory over Army, he scored the only points the Fighting Irish would need with a 96-yard interception return. He made every prominent AII-American team as a junior.

In 1930, while leading Notre Dame to its second consecutive undefeated national championship year, Carideo proved to be one of the most versatile athletes in college football. Against Southern Methodist University he set up a touchdown with a 70-yard punt return and a second one with a 25-yard completion to end Ed Kosky. He scored a touchdown against Pennsylvania, and then kicked a game-winning extra point in a 7-6 victory over Army in front of a crowd of 110,000 at Chicago's Soldier Field. In a late-season victory over Western Conference cochampion Northwestern, the quarterback showed off his leg, kicking 4 punts that landed inside the 1-yard line and were not returned. (He learned how to kick to the coffin corner at Dean Academy from Leroy Mills, a New York City attorney who played football at Princeton University and was a kicking and punting guru of his time.) In that game, Carideo also returned a punt to the 28-yard line to set up the winning score in the 14-0 victory. A 1954 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Carideo punctuated his college career with a 27-0 victory over USC by catching a 26-yard touchdown pass from halfback Marchy Schwartz. It should, then, come as no surprise that Carideo was named a consensus All-American for the second consecutive season.

After graduating, Carideo took to coaching. In 1931, he was an assistant at Purdue University; from 1932 to 1934 he was the head coach at the University of Missouri. In 1936, he became the head basketball coach and an assistant football coach at Mississippi State. He coached at the University of Iowa from 1939-42, and later served as a lieutenant in the navy. He returned to Iowa in 1946 and retired from coaching four years later.

 

August 5

Irish Landmark

The largest crowd ever to see a game at Notre Dame Stadimn before its 1997 expansion was 61,296 on October 6, 1962, when the Fighting Irish lost 24-6 to Purdue. That crowd size, like all Notre Dame attendance figures from that era, included everyone in the house-from stadium workers to reporters. From 1966 to 1996, however, attendance figures were based on paid admissions, hence the familiar 59,075 sellout figure.

 

August 6

Quote, Unquote

"Psychology has its place in football, but not to the extent many football fans believe; otherwise schools would profit more by turning over the coach's job  to the professor of philosophy...A smart running backfield, I've discovered, is better than any number of psychologists in winning football games."

                                                                                                                          --Coach Knute Rockne

 

August 7

Irish Legends - Alan Page and Bob Thomas

Alan Page, Defensive end (1964-66), 6'5", 2381bs. is born in 1945

Page enrolled in college in 1963, which was the same year that the Pro Football Hall of Fame was opened in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. He returned to Canton in 1988, a quarter of a century later, to be inducted into the shrine.

Page started three years at Notre Dame at defensive end, playing at an All-American level each season. He did not have the dimensions of a classic lineman. He was taller and narrower than most, but he was fast and agile and strong and durable. Page was one of the finest athletes ever to don a Notre Dame uniform in any sport, and he achieved excellence both in the classroom and on the football field.

After tearing up opponents on the freshman team, Page hit the varsity scene and laid claim to the starting defensive end position that he would keep for three seasons. As a sophomore he made 41 tackles, recovered 2 fumbles, and scored a touchdown on a 57-yard runback of a blocked punt. In 1965, he made 30 tackles, batted down a pass, and recovered 2 fumbles. Page came on strong during his senior season, and people noticed. He made 63 tackles and broke up a pass, and he was part of a stellar defense that allowed just 38 points in its 9-0-1 national championship season. Page was one of four consensus All-Americans to play on the squad, and he was named a first- team All-American.

Page competed in the 1967 College Football All-Star Game and was one of three Fighting Irish linemen to be selected in the first round of the 1967 NFL draft. The Minnesota Vikings used the fifteenth pick to grab him. The New York Jets had selected offensive guard Paul Seiler three picks earlier, and offensive guard Tom Regner, who also played some defensive tackle in college, went to the Houston Oilers eight slots after Page.

Page's career makes the term iron man seem inadequate. He played fifteen years in the trenches in the NFL and never missed a game. The Vikings moved him inside to tackle, and his quickness made him a tough matchup for far-less-mobile offensive linemen. He could not win a contest of brute force against the behemoth opponents, but he could get around them and outsmart them.

His best professional season was in 1971. He made 109 tackles and had 10 assists and was the first defensive player ever to win the Associated Press Player of the Year award. After eleven complete seasons Minnesota released Page, who had helped them to four league or conference championships. The coaching staff did not like the fact that he had begun to use long-distance running in his training regimen and let his weight drop to 225 pounds, so they cut him from the roster in 1978. The next stop for Page's incredible career was Chicago, where he would play for the Bears until he retired in 1981. Page, a nine-time All-Pro, started 238 professional games, made 1,431 tackles and 164 sacks, and recovered 24 fumbles.

After his football-playing career was over, Page turned his athletic drive toward marathon running and made his living as an attorney (he had gone to law school while playing professional football). Page was appointed as a justice to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992. In 1993, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Bob Thomas, Placekicker (1971-73), 5'10", 178lbs.

Thomas, from Rochester, New York, did as much as a placekicker can do to help his team win a national championship. In the 1973 Sugar Bowl, he helped preserve Notre Dame's undefeated record with a 19-yard field goal with 4:26 to play to lift the Fighting Irish to a 24-23 victory over the previously undefeated Crimson Tide of Alabama.

That kick capped an outstanding season for Thomas, who led the Fighting Irish with 70 points. He made 43 of 45 extra points and half of his 18 field goal attempts. He also continued a streak of 62 consecutive extra points, which began in 1972 and at the time was the second longest in NCAA history. For his career he made 98 of 101 extra points, third on the school's all-time percentage list. He also led the team in scoring during two of his three seasons.

Thomas first kicked for Notre Dame in 1971. He led the team with 36 points on 21 of 22 extra points and 5 of 9 field goals. In 1972, he was second on the team in scoring, with 55 points -34 of 34 extra points and 7 of 11 field goals. The Los Angeles Rams selected him in the fifteenth round of the 1974 NFL draft. He played with the Chicago Bears from 1975 through 1984, for the Detroit Lions in 1982, and for the San Diego Chargers in 1985. As a pro he made 303 of 330 extra points and 151 of 239 field goals. Bob went on to become a judge in the Chicago, IL area.

 

 

 
Irish Lore
 
Lou Holtz's teams usually started the season off with a bang, as he went 9-2 in opening games -- including 3-1 against arch-rival Michigan.

 

 
 
Irish Lore
 
It isn't often that Frank Leahy takes a backseat to another Notre Dame coach in terms of success, but Ara Parseghian compiled a better record at Notre Dame Stadium than "The Master" did - 51-6-1 (.888) to Leahy's 37-6-2 (.844). For the record, Knute Rockne was 5-0 (1.000), Elmer Layden was 25-5-0 (.833), Lou Holtz was 51-13-1 (.792), and Dan Devine was 25-7-0 (.781).
 
 
 
Irish Legend
 
Kicker Craig Hentrich was Mr. Automatic on extra points during his great career. He made 136  consecutive conversion kicks from 1989 to 1992 - a school record - and he was 177 of 180 on his career (.983).

 

 
 
Irish Landmark
 
Ara Parseghian did his best impression of his mentor, Woody Hayes, on November 1, 1969. That's when his Fighting Irish kicked up a gigantic cloud of dust over Notre Dame Stadium, setting a team record with a whopping 91 rushing attempts -- good for 597 yards --in a 47-0 win over Navy.

 

 
 
Irish Landmark
 
Craig Hentrick became the first player in Notre Dame history to successfully kick five field goals in a game. And it was an important game, too, for his kicks allowed No. 6 Notre Dame defeat No. 2 Miami 29-20 at Notre Dame Stadium on October 20, 1990.

 

 
Adrian Jarrell, flanker is born in 1971.
 
Adrian will always be remember by Irish fans for his great pass receiving plays two weeks in a row in 1990. The '91 Notre Dame Football Media Guide describes it this way: "Adrian Jarrell's dramatic catch -- on a ball that bounced off cornerback Todd Murray's chest -- in the closing minutes against Michigan State allowed the Irish to rally for a 20-19 victory. The previous week, Jarrell caught a touchdown pass with 1:40 to play in Notre Dame's 28-24 win again Michigan in exactly the same spot on the field."
 
 
 
Irish Lore
 
In 1979, Notre Dame rambled all the way to Japan to play a regular-season contest, dubbed the Mirage Bowl. The Fighting Irish whipped te Miami Hurricanes 40-15 on November 24 before 62,574 fans at the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
 
 
 
Irish Legend
 
Jerry Groom, Center/Linebacker (1948-50), 6'3", 215 lbs.

Two-platoon football helped Groom, and in turn the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The two-way star (at linebacker and center) from Dowling High Shool in Des Moines, Iowa, was twice named all-state. In his sophomore season at Notre Dame, Groom was a backup center. The following season brought two-platoon football, and Groom became a linebacker and went down as one of the best defensive players in school history. His play was rewarded in 1994 with an induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

NCAA rules forced Groom to play on the freshman team in 1947. The next year he backed up Bill Walsh at center. Finally, in 1949, his third year in South Bend, he was moved to middle linebacker and named the starter. He helped the Fighting Irish go 10-1 while they won their third consensus national title in four years. The next year Notre Dame crash-landed to Earth with a 4-4-1 record, but Groom, the captain, was a standout. He played both linebacker and center, was a consensus All-American, and was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game.

Groom's Notre Dame career almost didn't happen. He was all but ready to commit to the University of Iowa, but he held off his decision until he had a chance to hear what Notre Dame head coach Frank Leahy had to say. Leahy was the speaker at Groom's senior banquet, and the coach was familiar with the player's skill. Leahy had the advantage of selling the Irish tradition and a campus that a high school kid could love. Groom only promised to make a visit to the South Bend campus, but that was all it took. Those were good times at Notre Dame. The football team had won the 1947 national championship, and it didn't look as if the run would end any time soon. Groom was all for being part of history.

After Notre Dame, Groom was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cardinals in the 1951 NFL draft. He played professionally for Chicago until 1955.

 

August 16

Tom Thayer,  Defensive tackle/Tackle/Guard/Center (1979-82),6'5", 268 lbs. is born in 1961

There seemingly wasn't a line position that Thayer, a big, strong lineman from Joliet, Illinois, couldn't play, and he was as equally adept at pass blocking as pulling for downfield blocking. He began his college career in 1979 as a backup defensive tackle, making 3 tackles for the season. As a sophomore, he moved to offense and right guard, where he started six games and led all guards in minutes played. In 1981, as a junior, he started at left tackle and led the entire offense in field time. In 1982, he was all over the line. Injuries to other players made it necessary for him to start three games at strong guard, four at center, and four at quick guard.

The Chicago Bears selected Thayer in the fourth round of the 1983 NFL draft. He played with the team from 1985 to 1992, and on the Super Bowl XX championship squad. He spent the 1993 season with the Miami Dolphins before retiring from football.

 

August 17

Irish Legend

Tony Brooks,  Tailback (1987-88, 1990-91),6'2", 223 Ibs.

The first of the Brooks brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to attend Notre Dame, Tony was far more consistent than his brother. He didn't have the lows, and, unfortunately, he didn't have the highs. This Brooks, who was named Gatorade High School Player of the Year while leading Booker T. Washington High School to the 1986 Oklahoma state championship, was part of a recruiting class that also included Ricky Watters. He stepped right in and contributed at Notre Dame - Watters being the only freshman to log more time on offense than him. Brooks's first season resulted in 262 yards on 54 carries (an average of 4.9 yards) and a touchdown. In 1988, he was the team's second-leading rusher, with 667 yards on 117 carries, and he caught 2 passes for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. The following season, which coincidentally was his younger brother's freshman season, he took a break from Notre Dame and transferred to nearby Holy Cross Junior College. He did not play football that year and was back at Notre Dame the following fall, adding 451 yards on 105 carries to his totals.

His senior season was his best. Sharing the tailback position with Rodney Culver, Brooks played in twelve games, including four starts, and rushed for 894 yards on 147 carries. His average was a hefty 6.1 yards per rush, and he scored 5 times. Brooks was invited to play in the 1992 Senior Bowl and was an honorable mention All-American. He finished his career at Notre Dame sixth on the all-time rushing list, with 2,274 yards. He was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles and played two years as a pro.

 

August 18

Irish Lore

From Murray Sperber's "Shake Down The Thunder:"

"I expect to be in New York early in September and I wish that you would find out which sports writers think that I have been high-hatting them and for what reason. I would like very much to correct this impression as you know it is not so."

--Rockne to Francis Wallace, August 18, 1925

Part of Rockne's job as Notre Dame football coach and athletic director was dealing with the press. He had long known that gate receipts, especially in major cities, were tied to newspaper coverage and so he massaged the egos of the sportswriters of the day. But by 1925, his time was increasingly limited and the demands on it were growing exponentially. Thus, during one typical visit to Manhattan, Rockne only had time for a luncheon arranged by his agent, Christy Walsh, for the two of them and Grantland Rice and Ring Lardner, and he bruised the feelings of some of the uninvited reporters. On other New York trips, especially before the Army-Notre Dame game, he tried to see as many writers as possible.

 

August 19

Irish Legend

Bob Williams of Baltimore, Maryland, quarterbacked the Fighting Irish to the national championship in 1949, which earned him consensus All-American honors. Williams completed 83 of 147 passes for sixteen touchdowns --  a huge total in that era. Williams had another stellar year in 1950, completing 99 of 210 passes for ten touchdowns.

 

 
Quote, Unquote
 
We inform our candidates that criticism is like money; they should not worry about it, but they should only worry over the lack of it."
---Coach Frank Leahy
 
 
 
 
Irish Landmark
 
Coach Hugh Devore and the Fighting Irish could afford to be conservative in a 56-0 rout of Iowa in 1945. Notre Dame attemped only one pass all game long and didn't complete it.
 
 
 

Irish Landmark

No freshman running back at Notre Dame ever had a better season than Jerome Heavens in 1975. He set the school's frosh record for rushing yards in a game (148 vs. Georgia Tech) and in a season (756).

 

August 23

Irish Legend

Nick Eddy, Halfback (1964-66),6'0", 195 lbs. is born in 1944

Eddy never rushed for 600 yards or caught passes totaling as many as 400 yards in a single season, but when you put everything together, steady Eddy from Lafayette, California, contributed a lot to the Notre Dame football program. They won a national title during his stay, and he chewed up his fair share of yards as the leading rusher during the championship season. After three seasons on the Fighting Irish varsity, his grand total of offense from scrimmage was more than 2,300 yards, and he was a unanimous All-American selection.

Eddy contributed right away in 1964, when he first made the varsity as a sophomore. He was the youngest member of one of Notre Dame's best all-time backfields. He played along with fullback Joe Farrell, halfback Bill Wolski, and that season's Heisman Trophy winner, John Huarte, who played so well that Eddy's impressive coming-out season was a bit overlooked. Eddy led the team in kickoff returns and was second in rushing (98 carries for 490 yards) and third in receiving (16 catches for 352 yards) and scoring (44 points). The following season he took over the chores of leading the backfield. He led the team in both rushing (115 for 582) and receiving (13 for 233), and was fourth in scoring (36 points). After just two seasons on varsity, Eddy was listed among the top twenty rushers in school history.

Eddy continued to build on his statistics. He got better, as did the Fighting Irish, who were 9-0-1 and national champs his senior season. He averaged more than 7 yards per carry, totaled 553 yards, and caught 15 passes. He scored 60 points, or roughly one- sixth of Notre Dame's NCAA-leading 362. If you need any more indication of Eddy's importance to Notre Dame's titanic offense you need only look at a game played in East Lansing, Michigan, on November 19. Eddy had a sore shoulder, and he slipped while disem- barking the train in Michigan, further injuring the joint. He did not play, and the Fighting Irish had its only blemish of the year, a 10-10 tie with Michigan State.

 

August 24

Quote, Unquote

"I've never seen a better intercollegiate football team than my boys who beat Southern Cal (38-7)"

   ---Coach Frank Leahy after the finale of the 1947 season.

 

August 25

Irish Lore

Notre Dame hadn't had a winning season in six years when Ara Parseghian became head coach in 1964. But he instantly turned he Fighting Irish around, beginning with a 9-1 record in his first year. His worst season in 11 years was 7-2-1.

 

August 26

Irish Lore

Here's another example of how deeply talented the Notre Dame postwar teams were. Several reserves who never played a down went on the stardom in the National Football League. In all, forty-three players from the 1946 and 1947 teams played either in the NFL or the rival All-American Football Conference.

 

August 27

Irish Legend

Jim Flanigan Defensive tackle/Linebacker (1990-93) 6'2", 276 Ibs. is born in 1971

It took a switch from linebacker to defensive tackle to jump-start Flanigan's career. Flanigan, from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, was named state Player of the Year his senior year of high school. His first two college seasons were rather unspectacular as a backup linebacker, but then he was moved forward to defensive tackle as a junior. He started the final twenty-three games of his college career, often coming up with big plays. The one-time Sports Illustrated cover boy recorded 8 tackles in a 31-24 upset over top-ranked Florida. He also had 10 tackles in a 17-0 victory over Purdue. During Flanigan's senior season, Notre Dame was 11-1 and beat Texas A&M, 24-21, in the Cotton Bowl.

Obviously, Flanigan didn't suffer from the Sports Illustrated jinx, which has been blamed for ruining numerous sports careers. The Chicago Bears picked him in the third round of the 1994 NFL draft, and he was still with the team through the 2001 season.

 

August 28

Irish Legend

Jim Lynch Linebacker (1964-66), 6'1", 225 lbs.

As a freshman at Notre Dame, Lynch had to sit on the sidelines with an injury as the varsity football team suffered through a 2-7 season. But the next year he and new head coach, Ara Parseghian, were key figures in Notre Dame's return to national prominence.

Lynch, from Lima, Ohio, was the captain of the football team in high school and on the roster of the baseball and basketball squads. His older brother, Tom, was the captain of the U.S. Naval Academy football team. Lynch, one of the best linebackers in Fighting Irish history, was the complete package. He could hit, run, move, and attack the football, and he was a smart player. As a 210-pound sophomore, he started in six games and played 117 minutes, making 41 tackles and breaking up a pass before a knee injury ended his season.

By the fall of 1965 Lynch was back at full strength, and starting his second season at outside linebacker. He was the team's defensive leader and signal caller as the Fighting Irish allowed a stingy 73 points all season and only a minuscule 2 yards per rush. Lynch led the team in tackles with 108, broke up 3 passes, intercepted another, and was named a second team All-American.

As a senior, Lynch played even better. was the team captain as Notre Dame 9-0-1 and won a national championship, the school's first consensus title in seventeen years. They posted six shutouts that season, including three in a row - against Army, North Carolina, and Oklahoma-and held all ten of their opponents to a miserly 38 points. Lynch made 106 tackles, intercepted 3 passes, broke up 2 others, and recovered a fumble. For Lynch, the honors came fast and furious, as he made the first squad of every major All-America team. He also became the fourth Notre Dame player to win the Maxwell Award as college football's top player, and he earned first-team Academic All-American honors. He finished his Notre Dame career with 255 tackles and 4 interceptions.

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Lynch in the second round of the 1967 draft, and he played all eleven of his NFL seasons in Kansas City, helping to lead the franchise to the 1970 Super Bowl title. Another honor bestowed on Lynch, alongside his NFL championship ring, was his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

 

August 29

Irish Legend

John "Clipper" Smith started for two years at guard under Knute Rockne in 1926 and 1927. Previously, he had played fullback, halfback, and center. Despite being only five-foot-nine and 165 pounds, Smith was a consensus All-American selection in his senior year.

 

August 30

Irish Legend

Ryan Leahy Guard (1992-95) 6'4" 285 lbs. is born in 1972.

Veteran of '95 Irish offensive line as three-year starter as guard and one of five Irish captains for 1995. He was a third team All-American selection in '95 by the Associated Press. Started in 25 career games, more than any other player on the '95 offensive unit. (From the 1996 Notre Dame Football Media Guide)

 

August 31

Irish Landmark

In 1989 Tony Rice becomes Notre Dame's career leader among quarterback's in rushing in the 36-13 win over Virginia in the Kickoff Classic.

 

 

 

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